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Research Report

Regional Security and Human Rights Interventions: A Global Governance Perspective on the AU and ASEAN

Andreas Stensland
Walter Lotze
Joel Ng
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2012
Pages: 75

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 2-4)
  2. (pp. 5-6)
  3. (pp. 7-10)
  4. (pp. 11-12)
  5. (pp. 13-18)

    Over the past decade, the African Union (AU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have taken notable steps towards internalizing and promoting human rights as international norms within their regional organizations. The AU Constitutive Act (2000) calls for ‘Respect of democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance; [and] Promotion of social justice’ (Article 4(m, n)), while the ASEAN Charter (2007) require member states to adhere ‘to the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy and constitutional government; [and] respect for fundamental freedoms, the promotion and protection of human rights, and the promotion...

  6. (pp. 19-44)

    Both the AU and ASEAN were formed primarily as regional security arrangements in the context of Cold War geopolitics, ostensibly as regional safeguards against external interference. However, in the AU context, the human rights architecture – which was established under the auspices of the OAU and which still functions as Africa’s continental human rights architecture today – preceded the security architecture that was established with the transition from the OAU to the AU, and through the creation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). Our analysis of the AU will follow the chronology of developments, while exploring the nexus...

  7. (pp. 45-66)

    While ASEAN cannot be considered as robust a regional security organization as the AU and is sub-regional, the organization was nevertheless established primarily with regional security concerns in mind as a bulwark against external intervention in regional affairs.79 The development of a regional security architecture began only with the adoption of the ASEAN Charter in 2007. The inclusion in the Charter of the commitment to promote and protect human rights in the region was seen as ground-breaking and marked a decisive turn in the ‘Asian values’ debate. However, progress in institutional strengthening to create a framework for the protection of...

  8. (pp. 67-70)

    How have regional human rights norms within the AU and ASEAN impacted on regional security discourse and practice? Because the human rights and security architectures were developed at separate times and to varying degrees in both organizations, the process of reconciling them has proved cumbersome. This becomes particularly evident in instances where the organizations are faced with conflict situations involving wide-spread violations of human rights. The tensions that arise when balancing human rights and security concerns in these situations are not unique to AU and ASEAN. Rather, they are a regular – albeit not necessarily inevitable – consequence of weighing...

  9. (pp. 71-75)